President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has assured the people of Acholi sub-region of government’s commitment to end cattle raids perpetrated by Karamojong cattle rustlers.
“I want to assure all of you that this problem will be solved because most of the issues you have raised, I know their potential and limitations,” the President stressed.
President Museveni who is in the Northern Region of the country to assess and find solutions to the cattle raids by the Karamojong cattle raiders made the assurance today at a meeting with leaders from Acholi sub-region whom he invited to Baralegi State Lodge, Okwang sub-county in Otuke district.
Leaders invited included Members of Parliament from Acholi sub-region, Cultural Leaders led by the Paramount Chief Rwot David Onen Acana II, religious leaders, RDCs and RCCs, LC 5 Chairpersons, other political leaders as well as opinion and historical leaders.
President Museveni in response to one of the contributors from Adilang, who pointed out that the security agencies were not following seriously the raiders once reported, clarified that the person following is always at a disadvantage as the raider can at his will decide to ambush persons who are following them.
He further noted that the same can also happen to the Local Defence Units (LDUs) who could experience a similar problem.
The President added that even at the time of fighting the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony, this presented a challenge as the rebels could decide to ambush anyone following them.
“We were only able to defeat Kony when we introduced gunships because we could pass the ambushes and would engage them accordingly. You calm down, I am here, and this problem will be solved,” the President said.
President Museveni also echoed the comment by one of the elders Mr. Okwera who pointed out that the problem had existed since 1954 and was exacerbated in 1979 following the overthrow of Idi Amin regime where the Karamojong seized the opportunity to loot all types of guns from the Armory of Moroto Army Barracks.
The President said no government after that was able to retrieve guns from the Karamojong except the National Resistance Movement (NRM) that embarked on the disarmament exercise and removed over 40,000 guns from the Karamojong.
“The Army of Obote when it was overthrown had only 8, 000 soldiers and that of Amin had only 20,000 soldiers but you hear now we were able to remove 41,000 guns from the Karamojong,” he said.
The President said the peace in the region only came into existence following the removal of guns from the Karamojong. He also noted that cattle rustling was an old problem that resurfaced because of some weaknesses on the part of the security agencies that failed to properly package ways of dealing with the issue.
He however assured the nation that the problem will be solved again and pledged to visit the area again in June to update them on the progress of dealing with the cattle rustling issue.
“I promise to come back in June then you people will either say I am a person of ‘Goba’ (Lies) or I will say you people of little faith as Jesus used to tell his disciples,” the President said.
President Museveni had earlier briefed the gathering of the areas that were identified as loopholes in tackling the cattle raids.
He cited the delayed response to reported cases of cattle theft by the army and the police and not using communication gadgets like cell phones.
His Excellency also told them of the recommendations made in an earlier meeting with senior security officers.
Other recommendations included the heightened use of Police canines, overhead aircrafts to track down the cattle rustlers both during the day and at night and also branding of the animals by their locations.
The President added that other methods to fight cattle rustling included; being in close contact with the wananchi, making frequent visits to them to ascertain their security situation as well as to get reports from the people whom he hailed so much for providing valuable information required to help in curbing the vice.